End of Season Sees Ninth-Place Finish

Despite midseason upheaval, the 2011 Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Carnival season finished exactly as it started: with the University of Vermont at the top and Harvard in ninth.

But for the EISA’s top skiers, the end of the college carnival season did not mark the end of racing, and three Harvard skiers, sophomores Catherine Sheils and Alena Tofte and freshman Rebecca Nadler, will continue their seasons at the NCAA championships.

“It’s exciting to have as many skiers doing a postseason,” said Nordic coach Chris City ’94. “It’s a nice development to be able to look beyond just the college racing.”

Sheils and Nadler became the first Harvard alpine women ever to qualify for NCAAs, while Tofte became the first Nordic skier to qualify since 2004.

Sheils posted the best results of any Harvard skier this weekend with a 14th-place finish in the slalom and a 22nd-place result in the giant slalom.


“Those were her two best collegiate giant slalom, last week and this week,” alpine coach Tim Mitchell said. It’s a big step for her to be more of a two-event skier.”

For Sheils, the final weekend capped off a season of consistent improvement.

“She switched ski boots: it usually takes a little while to get used to it and settled,” Mitchell said. “She changed like a week and a half before the first race...her speed has always been there; it’s just a question of increasing consistency.”

Classmate Tofte had a strong finish in Sunday’s 15k classic mass start, placing 15th, but did not finish Saturday’s 5k freestyle.

“She wasn’t even that close [to qualifying] last year,” City said. “This is a really impressive jump. She was consistently in the top-15 skiers including today...making NCAAs is a reflection of [her consistency]. There wasn’t a race where she didn’t have a shot at a top-15 finish.”

Nadler’s collegiate season came to a disappointing finish; the rookie placed 49th in the slalom on Saturday and did not finish the giant slalom.

But Nadler’s races at the start of the season were strong enough to propel her into NCAAs.

Mitchell reported that Nadler was still recovering from a crash sustained during the previous weekend’s Middlebury College Winter Classic. The alpine coach added that she skied well while she managed to stay in the course.

“She’s had really horrible luck the last few weeks,” Mitchell said. “She went to Turkey [for the World University Games] and got really sick there on her way back...It looked like things were starting to turn around, and then she had a bad crash. She’s still pretty sore...I’m pretty confident she’ll be back on track [for NCAAs].”

The other skiers headed for the postseason are freshmen Nordic skiers Jen Rolfes and Chris Stock, who will both compete at the junior Olympics. Tofte and freshman Tanner Wiegand also qualified but will not compete. Tofte declined in order to compete at NCAAs, and Wiegand is unable to make the event.


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